Netherlands flag Netherlands: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of the Netherlands

Foreign Trade in Figures

Dutch prosperity has always been based on its international trade, and the geographic location of the country makes it a European trade hub, with Rotterdam being the largest European port and the third-largest in the world, handling over 465 million tons of cargo annually. With high-tech industries and services, foreign trade is one of the main pillars of the Dutch economy, representing an impressive 177% of GDP (World Bank – latest data available), one of the most open and outward-oriented economies in the world. According to data by CBS, 22% of exports in 2022 comprised mineral fuels; followed by machinery (20.1%), manufactured goods (19.2%), chemical products (17%), and food and beverages (11.9%). The country is also a major exporter of flowers and plants, with the horticulture sector being a significant contributor to the Dutch economy. Most of the sales are re-exportations as the country plays the role of a European trade hub; therefore, the same product categories led imports (mineral fuels accounting for 25% of the total, against 21.8% of manufactured goods and 20.9% of machinery).

As data by CBS show, Germany was the main destination in 2022, accounting for 24.5% of total exports, followed by Belgium (12.1%), France (8.1%), the UK (5.9%), and the U.S. (4.7%). Imports came chiefly from Germany (15.3%), Belgium (10.1%), China (9.5%), the U.S. (8.4%), and the UK (6.1%). On 1 September 2023 additional export control measures entered into force for advanced semiconductor manufacturing equipment. From that point on, the export of certain advanced semiconductor manufacturing equipment is subject to a national authorisation requirement.

The country has a structurally positive trade balance for goods and services, which stood at around 10.8% of GDP for 2022 according to the World Bank. The Dutch goods trade achieved unprecedentedly high import and export values in 2022: the value of exported goods stood at USD 966.7 billion (+15% y-o-y), with imports totalling USD 898.3 billion (+18.6%); whereas for commercial services exports stood at USD 272.9 billion (up by 8.6% y-o-y) and imports at USD 263.9 billion (+5.8% - data by WTO). The latest figures from the National Statistical Office show that in the first quarter of 2023 the import volume was 4% higher than the same period one year earlier, while that of export went up by 3.9%.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 635,678595,122757,380897,485842,051
Exports of Goods (million USD) 708,596674,602840,032964,764934,568
Imports of Services (million USD) 265,608217,935248,990270,037297,137
Exports of Services (million USD) 275,933228,572261,658287,656316,893

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 158.8155.3146.5155.9175.9
Trade Balance (million USD) 84,61267,30570,71586,51677,564
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 96,36089,25291,782115,770109,059
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4.73.2-4.84.04.1
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4.32.0-4.35.24.7
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 74.172.768.272.883.2
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 84.782.578.383.192.6

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -1.30.22.43.43.4
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) -0.80.83.03.73.6

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
The Netherlands is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, European Union, ICC, WTO, G-10, OECD, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates the Netherlands click here. International organisation membership of the Netherlands is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by the Netherlands can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2023
Germany 22.7%
Belgium 11.7%
France 8.1%
United Kingdom 6.3%
United States 5.0%
See More Countries 46.2%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2023
Germany 16.9%
United States 10.4%
Belgium 10.2%
China 8.3%
United Kingdom 5.1%
See More Countries 49.1%

Source: Comtrade, 2024. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

741.8 bn USD of products exported in 2023
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 9.7%
Machines and apparatus of a kind used solely or...Machines and apparatus of a kind used solely or principally for the manufacture of semiconductor boules or wafers, semiconductor devices, electronic integrated circuits or flat panel displays; machines and apparatus specified in note 9 C to chapter 84; parts and accessories, n.e.s. 3.3%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 2.9%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.5%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 2.3%
See More Products 79.3%
664.1 bn USD of products imported in 2023
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 8.3%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 4.9%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 3.8%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 3.7%
Automatic data-processing machines and units...Automatic data-processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 2.5%
See More Products 76.8%

Source: Comtrade, 2024. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import-Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2024. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: July 2024